SA does little to improve human rights

FILE PICTURE: President Jacob Zuma speaks at a Human Rights Day event at the George Thabe Cricket Pitch in Sharpeville, Vereeniging, south of Gauteng, Friday, 21 March 2014. Picture: GCIS/SAPA

South Africa did very little in the past year to improve human rights, the Human Rights Watch said on Thursday.

South Africa’s “inconsistent” foreign policy on human rights once again came to the fore in 2014, the organisation said in a statement following the release of its World Report 2015.

“While the country [South Africa] regularly supported and mediated an end to conflicts on the continent, it has proved reluctant at the United Nations Human Rights Council to protect victims’ rights, and at times made decisions contrary to its human rights principles.”

Although South Africa played an important role in advancing the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTI) people internationally, it has been inconsistent in condemning publicly the introduction of anti-LGBT laws in Uganda, Nigeria, and Gambia, the organisation said.

The organisation said the police capacity and ability to police riots in a “rights-respecting manner raised serious concerns”.

Last year, incidents of police violence were reported in Mothutlung in Brits, North West, Relela in Kgapane, Limpopo, and Bekkersdal in Gauteng.

“Incidents of violence against foreign nationals and looting of foreign-owned shops highlighted the government’s inability to counter xenophobia or address the contributing causes.”

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